23 September 2022, by Victoria Séveno

The Netherlands is a country that’s been around for a while, with centuries of rich (and controversial) history. As someone who lives in the lowlands in the 21st century, it might be hard to picture what the country might have been like before all the tourists taking selfies and locals whizzing around on electric bikes. 

If you’re looking for a window into the past, these amazing photos from the National Archives (Nationaal Archief) offer an incredible glimpse into what the country and what the people of the Netherlands looked like (and dressed like) back in the early 20th century. 

From the archive: Photos of traditional Dutch clothing1. Two women in the Dutch town of Marken, 1932.

Photo: Willem van de Poll, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Van de Poll.

2. Children buying sweets at a market in Volendam, 1934.

Photo: Willem van de Poll, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Van de Poll.

3. Children ice skating in Volendam, 1964. 

Photo: Jac de Nijs, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Elsevier.

4. Men ice skating in Volendam, 1924.

Photo: N.V. Vereenigde Fotobureaux, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Elsevier.

5. A father and his children on the streets of Volendam, 1932.

Photo: Willem van de Poll, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Van de Poll.

6. Fisherman walking along a street in Volendam, 1959.

Photo: Willem van de Poll, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Van de Poll.

7. A young couple and their family and friends walking through the snow in Marken after their wedding ceremony, 1947.

Photo: Willem van de Poll, Nationaal Archief / Fotocollectie Van de Poll.

Traditional clothing worn in the NetherlandsAs you can see, some people living in more traditional Dutch towns and villages wore traditional clothing up until fairly recently – even today, if you visit towns like Volendam, Marken or Urk, you might catch a glimpse of someone decked out in a traditional outfit.

Want to know more about the different kinds of clothing Dutch people traditionally wore? Read all about the various traditional outfits and accessories – everything from clogs to bonnets – here!

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